Last weekend, I returned home to Illinois for the funeral of my husband’s grandfather. He was a good man, the sort of person we can only aspire to be like as we go through life. Many times, he showed us such love and compassion that I never felt any different from the rest of his grandchildren. He and his wife would go out of their way to make bacon of all things when we were with them for breakfast despite the fact that they themselves were vegetarians. He’ll be deeply missed.
Our trip went smoothly, but in the midst of grief, there were many bright spots. Some of those bright spots began in the forms of meals, snacks, and desserts gifted to the family by friends of my mother-in-law. It was in the moment that we sat down together as a family over a beautifully prepared lasagna that I realized just what a meal is really capable of.
Consider the last time someone cooked for you. Was it Thanksgiving? A date? Going out to eat? Two of the three are expressions of care. Hosting Thanksgiving is a generous undertaking. Cooking for a date adds a personal touch to the evening. Going out to eat removes such a touch. Delivering a meal that can easily be warmed up and lose none of it’s integrity in the process to a grieving family is a level of love and care which involves such consideration.
That lasagna arrived in the house a day before I did. We ate it the day after we arrived, and yet it was as pleasurable and pleasant a thing as any fresh slice of lasagna I’ve eaten at any Italian restaurant. There’s something about that. How do you pull that off in an item that’s potentially going to sit for a few days?
It was a comfort for all of us, and it’s a lesson that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Food is the highest form of love. It nourishes and it comforts. You can do so much for someone in a single plate of food. The worry over what to eat goes away. There is just the moment over the meal, and for a little while, it is easy to forget about whatever troubles might have brought you to the table in the first place. Food is love in its most obvious form.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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